Growingup with Tiantian, a Hot Chinese Animation TV Series

Shenzhen Tian Tian Cheng Zhang Productions Ltd.(TTCZ) is a film and television company dedicated to the development and production of kids’ programs. Their work “Growningup with Tiantian” has been loved by parents and children since its launch. Various media have reported and won many professional awards. Today, we will chat with Tiantian Film and Television Company about their development and story behind.

CGGE: Can you introduce your company to our audience?

TTCZ: The company is founded in January 2016 and it engages in 2D/3D animation, live action and television, books and dramas for children. We also invest film and television projects as well as creative development, film production, publicity and distribution, franchising and IP licensing. At present, the company is making full efforts to produce the 3D animation project “GrowingUp”, and with this project as the starting point, we continue to create domestic animated TV series and animated film. That’s also the name of the company comes after.

Including this project, we also stock new projects. “Growing Up with Tiantian” is the eternal theme that runs through people’s lives. These entertainment programs can accompany the growth of each generation. Therefore, “Gowingup” is a time-honored, can be very daily or a very grand theme.

CGGE: Why did you produce such a series? Its main topic about parent-children is very real and fits life. Is this related to the creator’s own life experience?

TTCZ:  “Growing Up with Tiantian” was adopted from Ms. Feng Lili’s documentary literature, “Going to the Countryside” published by Xinxing Publishing House in 2014. The original story expresses the young mother’s anxiety and consideration how to raise a kid healthily. That’s also most parents’ problem. Today, after decades of rapid development, in the process of continuous industrialization and urbanization, people began to think about the huge challenges for children’s education brought up by the lack of natural education, lack of family accompaniment, and unbalanced resource allocation.

This simple, close-to-life narrative style continues in the series. The main target audience is the families that have children; so we consider the feeling of the children and parents as well during development. The POV is also from kids.

Our team combines their experience during the daily life to express the real feeling of the family. Arts comes from life. Therefore, it’s accepted by the audiences.The length of documentary is limited, while the series has the unlimited space to tell the story. It traces back to life, maintains the style and keep producing new contents.

CGGE: From the characters, usually the female character in animation is more inclined to be dreamy, cute, and has pets, etc; while your girl character is growing in the country. In a popular word, it’s “simple and crude”. Is it to respect the original book, or you think it can attract more audience from the different angles? On the early stage, did the internal team have any different voices?

TTCZ: This character setting is very interesting. We confirm the style at the very beginning. The setting of the world view is both life-oriented and open-ended, which can be added many fantasy elements. Currently, including the 3rd season which is in production, there are six child characters. Each character can become a hero in their own world. No matter what kind of environment and background, they can change themselves and change the world around them.

Many of our audiences watched our series from the age of two or three, so we did not make a targeted division of the gender of the audience. Judging from the audience data we have collected so far, “Growing Up with Tiantian” is very popular among boys and girls. However, in the adult audience, the proportion of mothers is significantly higher than that of fathers, which is in line with the situation in which Chinese kids are accompanied mostly by mothers.Every child likes dreamy scenes, cute expressions, and little animals. At the same time, they also like adventure, like the topics about bravely facing difficulties, and being close to beautiful nature. Our preference for children’s audiences is not simply assumed, nor fixed routines and presets. Any discussion of goodness and kindness becomes the theme.

In the follow-up works, we will add more elements of imagination, as well as a relaxed and humorous plots, and hope that the audience will see more and more programs that are close to children’s real life.

CGGE: Tiantian has met a lot of friends in the rural life.  Each child has a different personality with the vivid design. They are distinctive. The scene set is also very delicate and detailed. Did you do necessary research before development?

TTCZ:   First of all, we encourage every member of the creative team to boldly integrate their experiences, and memories into the works; it gave the scenes, props and other details to life. Every child is more or less has our own shadows. During development, we are not only creating these characters; we are knowing and understanding them, as if they were ourselves or our old friends that accompanied us during growing up. Team members often come up with great ideas, and we will try to keep them and put it in the series when necessary.

From the beginning of the project, we go to the villages every year to collect materials; to get close to the children, parents, villagers, and teachers who are really engaged in education, talk to them, and share experience with them. Every time, we are inspired and make us close to the original style of the works.

CGGE: “Growing Up with Tiantian” is an animated series that kids and parents can watch together. When rural children go to the city; or stay behind; while urban children enjoy more material culture, what is the practical significance of the series?

TTCZ:  This is a big question. We are also learning while creating. We are also growing. The most important value of a work is to tell a good story. We hope that every audience, no matter what experience he or she has, could find a feeling of empathy and resonance in the story. Whether in the city or in the country, we can discover the good things around us, feel the goodness of the world, and learn to care for others. Every child is the same. In each of their life experiences, maintaining goodness and confidence is the most important thing.

CGGE: At present, how many “Growing Up with Tiantian” has been produced? Will you keep producing this series? Will you produce feature movie in future to let more parents and children enjoy this wonderful nature life?

TTCZ: Currently, a total of two season with 26 episodes each of animated episodes have been produced and distributed. Due to budget and team size, the production cycle is relatively long. The third season with 26 eps. has been in the postproduction and we hope it can be released in the fourth quarter of this year. There are still many stories in this series that have not been shared with our audience; so we will definitely keep on it. If the conditions are allowed, we will do it faster. Quality will be the first priority no matter whether we have enough budget or not.

We will someday bring the Tiantian and his friends’ story to the big screen. At present, the movie is still on the early stage of script writing. It is a big challenge to write a good story and to present it perfectly in the big screen.

CGGE: The growth of children is a matter of great concern to the whole society. In addition to enabling Chinese children to experience the beauty of nature, have you ever thought of responding to the country’s call of cultural exports; to let more overseas children to understand the domestic life?

TTCZ: Yes, we are looking for an overseas distributors and have received very positive market feedback. We are confident that China’s childhood stories will find resonance in all corners of the world. After all, the yearning for good nature and the pursuit of kindness, courage and self-confidence are universal values, regardless of national boundaries or cultural background. Children’s film and television programs need to go out as well as introduce more to the local market.

It’s for the purpose of learn how to tell a story and improve ourselves. Being brave enough to face yourself and sincerely telling your own story will definitely win more audiences.

CGGE: Are there any other ideas that you would like to share with our readers?

TTCZ: I am very grateful for the opportunity to have such a good exchange. The questions are very deep and meticulous. This is the best urge for us. I hope that there will be such opportunities in the future to help us reflect and summarize.Thank you!

For more information about Growingup with Tiantian, please contact: [email protected]

Source: CGGE

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